On the Radar: Nickelback jokes, RIP Sean McKeough, The Cure + more

Robert Smith, Cure

I’m back from the holiday and as always, I have music on the brain. So what’s on my mind this week? Take a look at this week’s On the Radar to find out.

Prepared to be punished with Nickelback


The internet joke that just won’t die is an extreme hatred for Nickelback. It’s not only cool to hate on the Canadian band, it’s also a weird insult. Remember that picture from the Chicago teacher’s strike claiming the mayor liked Nickelback? Now, a police force in the Canadian town of Kensington is using the band’s music as a form of punishment for drunk drivers. Posted on the police force’s Facebook page, cops threaten drivers to drive sober or else face having to listen to Nickelback’s 2001 album Silver Side Up in its entirety. Nickelback caught wind of this and asked the force to take down the post. Constable Rob Hartlen, who wrote the post, defended it saying it was all in just. But it makes me wonder why is hating on Nickelback still a thing?

I don’t listen to the band myself and yes, I grew weary of their hit single “How You Remind Me” after one listen. But I never understood the Nickelback hate. No, they’re not a particularly amazing band and there are far better out there. The thing is, there are way, way worse bands as well. Ever hear of a band called Blood on the Dancefloor? But it’s one of those weird internet mysteries that will probably never be solved. It seems every few years it’s cool to hate on one particular band or artist. Previously, it was Justin Bieber, before that it was Limp Bizkit. What surprises me, in this case, is how long this odd hatred has lasted. I get it’s a joke, but it’s a pretty dull one at this point. Let’s move on.

RIP Sean McKeough, Riot Fest Co-Founder

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RIP, Sean McKeough

Chicago suffered a major loss this week and it still hurts. On Tuesday (Nov. 29) Sean McKeough, co-founder of Riot Fest and owner of Cobra Lounge, passed away. At this time, a cause of death has not been revealed. McKeough and co-founder Mike Petryshyn are responsible for one of the most notable, kickass, and groundbreaking music festivals. When we think of Riot Fest today, we picture the multi-day outdoor festival that has a new home in Douglas Park. But when the two came up with the idea, the festival took place at The Double Door. Talk about humble beginnings. McKeough and Petryshun showcased the best acts in rock, punk, metal, and rap when other festivals wouldn’t. He was a major player in Chicago and he will definitely be missed.

Petryshun released a statement on McKeough’s death on the Riot Fest website:

“Sean was Riot Fest’s pillar of strength.  I loved him. I admired him.  And to lose him is a lonely and barren feeling.  I miss my friend immensely.  Without Sean and his belief that a little fest could make a positive impact on people’s lives by doing things differently and left of the dial, Riot Fest would have never become such an intimate family.  His Herculean-sized heart and volition made that all possible.  Anyone lucky enough to have witnessed his kindness and compassion knows Sean’s muddy work boots will never be filled.  It’s impossible… he cared when no one else did.  He worked when no one else did. And, he believed in Riot Fest when no one else did.

Our thoughts are with the entire McKeough family and his beloved partner Erin.  You were the closest people to him and without your constant love and support for Sean, his unimaginable impact on thousands of lives may have never been realized.

Sean, I will forever be indebted to you.  I love you, brother and I’ll make sure that Riot Fest never loses its purpose or vision… the one you saw before any of us.”

The Cure


Hands down, my highlight of the year is seeing The Cure twice live. I still think about how wonderful and amazing those nights were. The British band is still on their massive world tour and currently in London as part of their three-night stint at Wembley. Though I couldn’t catch their first Wembley shows for various reasons, mainly money, I did get the chance to see another Cure legend in front of my eyes.

Former Cure drummer/keyboardist and co-founder Lol Tolhurst stopped by Chicago as part of his Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys book tour. I attended the first of two events: his reading and Q+A session at the SAE Institute. The other event was a reading, Q+A,and DJ set at the Virgin Hotel. Seeing and hearing this man that had so much to do with the Cure left me awestruck. He shared his thoughts on the current music industry, the early days of the band, and his struggle with addiction. Afterward, he did a meet and greet with fans, taking pictures and signing whatever they brought with them.

As I left the event, with signed records and book in my bag, I blasted The Cure. And I’ll be doing so for the rest of the week. It’s hard to describe what this band means to me, but meeting Tolhurst was such an honor I’ll never forget.

Ticket Scalpers will now be punished in New York

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Ever get burned by ticket scammers?

Your favorite band is coming to town and you’re up, ready to buy tickets. 10AM hits and you hit search to find tickets are already sold out. Pop over to StubHub and tickets are already there at outrageous prices. This is what it’s like to buy tickets in 2016. What used to be a fairly simple process has turned into a nightmare. It’s harder than ever for fans to get their hands on tickets for shows they want to see. Some bands and venues try their own methods, like credit card entry only, but it still doesn’t deter scalpers, but maybe this new law will.

In New York, ticket scalpers who use buying bots will now face huge fines and the possibility of jail time. Governor Andrew Cuomo put this new law in effect, which classifies the use of ticket bots as a class A misdemeanor. The law goes into effect February 2017. It’s about time we start fighting against these scalpers. The use of ticket bots is illegal but requires civil persecution. Yeah, the law won’t stop scalpers in their tracks, but it’s a step forward to slowing them down.

Ticket scalping has only grown in recent years, especially with websites like StubHub and Vivid Seats, who pretty much promote the action. If that weren’t bad enough, corporations like eBay and Ticketmaster are in bed with these sites as well, giving out the message that it’s fine to charge 200 each for a ticket that cost only 60. Hopefully, more laws like this will be passed in other cities, so we can eliminate the dread that now comes with buying tickets. Making fans pay double or triple for events they want to see just isn’t fair.

Vince Staples 


Since he dropped his debut EP in 2014, Vince Staples has gained a wide, loyal following. His music is already critically acclaimed and he’s frequently touted as one of the best rappers of the new generation. So, I was shocked to learn about his first headline tour. The rapper’s already played at several notable festivals including Osheaga Music Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival. But judging from his sheer stage performance and the power of his music, it seems like he should’ve been the headliner long ago. But finally, Staples will head out on his first major tour.

Dubbed the Life Aquatic Tour, Staples will tour around the country starting February 24 in San Diego, CA. Dates will wrap up April 9 in Phoneix, AZ and of course, he’ll be in Chicago on March 19. Kilo Kish is joining him as the support act. Tickets are currently on sale. Because Staples brings fire wherever he’s performing, you can be sure this major outing will be bigger and better.

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on Examiner, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, Kitty Whipp, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.